Hosting migration: How to transfer your website to a new web host?

Web HostingCategory
20 min read
Elijah Charbonneau

There are many reasons why you may be looking to transfer your website to a new web host. Maybe you found a better price, you want greater reliability, better customer support, or more features.

Whatever your reason for switching, you will need to perform a web hosting migration in order to switch to a new web hosting service from your current hosting provider.

As with any process, there are some important things you should know before you jump right in and get started. That’s why we’ve created this guide on how to transfer your website to a new web host. Read it and you’ll be able to migrate your website without any hiccups like lost data or downtime. For this article, we'll describe the step-by-step process of transferring your website to GoDaddy. But the process should be similar for most web hosting providers.

Can you transfer your website to a new hosting provider? 

If you are wondering if it is possible to transfer your website to a new web host, the answer is yes.

In fact, it’s very common for website owners to change their minds about who they host their website with.

There are a few things you need to take into account before starting the process though. But don't worry, we'll go over everything you need to know about hosting migration in this article.

hosting migration

What are the considerations for choosing your web hosting provider? 

Let’s go over some of the most important considerations when choosing web hosting. These apply to any website owner. With so many web hosting companies out there, it is important to find one that suits your website.

Your needs

Before you pick any web hosting plan, you should have an idea of your hosting needs. Will a simple shared hosting plan for your hobby, or personal website be enough? Or, do you require a private server with plenty of bandwidth for a quickly growing business website? Whatever your requirements, ensure the hosting plans you are considering will have you covered.


One of the most important considerations when choosing web hosting is security. A good hosting provider should have tight security measures in place to protect your website from hackers and other threats.

Reliability and uptime

Reliability is important for any website, especially if it is used for business. After all, you don’t want visitors typing in your URL only to find a 'this webpage is not available' message. Uptime refers to the percentage of time in which your website will be visible online. The higher the percentage, the closer your site will be to never going offline unexpectedly. As such, you would want to find a hosting service that provides as much uptime as possible. For instance, GoDaddy offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee – one of the best in the business.


Website speed is important these days, not only for a good user experience but also because Google prioritizes speed when ranking sites in search results. You’ll want a web host that is at least as fast as the industry average.

Customer support

What happens when you get stuck or run into problems with your website? Or, what about times when you may just have a question or two? In either case, it’s good to know you can get in touch with your web host for help. Some web hosting providers strictly offer email support during certain hours. GoDaddy, on the other hand, offers award-winning customer support 24 hours a day. The helpful support team can be reached via live chat and telephone.


Finally, price is something that is important to all of us. In fact, for many people, it is one of the first considerations. When looking at the price of hosting, it’s important to also take into account the renewal cost. Also, look at how much the provider's other plans cost. You may need to upgrade your plan down the road. If so, you don’t want to be caught off-guard by unexpectedly high prices.

Other considerations

There are plenty of other hosting features that may have more importance depending on your situation. Some of these are bandwidth, amount of storage, server locations, and backups. Click to read a more detailed article on web hosting considerations.

Related: What's the right web hosting plan for me and my clients?

What do you need for hosting migration? 

Two Guys Holding A Laptop

Depending on the hosting plan you sign up for, you may have access to automatic website migration. In that case, you won't need to follow the manual hosting migration instructions below. Learn how to migrate a WordPress site with a Managed WordPress hosting plan. Or reach out to GoDaddy support to learn about hosting plans with automated hosting migration.

Are you moving a website with cPanel? Here are some easy instructions on moving a cPanel site from another host to GoDaddy.

Before you begin the process of manually transferring your website to GoDaddy, there are a few things you will need. Let’s discuss these now to make sure you have a successful hosting migration.

  1. A domain name from your previous host. If you want to move your domain name to another host, but don't already own it, you'll need to buy a domain from a domain registrar first.
  2. A hosting plan with a new web host. If you’re ready to start with GoDaddy, head over to choose from one of our popular hosting plans.
  3. Your website files and a copy of your database on your computer or in a cloud-based storage platform like Dropbox or Google Drive. You can also upload them directly to the new host if they offer that functionality.
  4. An FTP client (like FileZilla) so that you can upload your files from your computer to the new host's server.

Don’t be alarmed if you don’t have a copy of your files or database yet (or an FTP client). We’ll be going over how to do everything now!

How to transfer web hosting to a new hosting service provider: a step-by-step guide

We’ve gone over what’s required before you can move your website to a new web host. Now, let’s discuss the steps you will need to take to successfully transfer your website hosting to GoDaddy.

Before we begin, do know that you have different options of site migration, which would determine the migration process that you will need to go through.

You can choose to transfer your website manually, which means you will take care of the entire process of backing up your website, file transfer, uploading it to your new server and pointing it to your new nameservers. If this sounds tedious for you, always remember that our friendly customer care team is on standby to help you manage the migration with GoDaddy’s Managed Migration Services.

For those who want to try this out on your own, this step-by-step tutorial is straightforward and pretty easy to follow. If you have any questions or need some help, our friendly customer support team is waiting.

Step 1. Sign up for a new hosting provider and choose your hosting plan:

The first step is to decide which hosting plan is right for you. If you’re unsure, our web hosting plans page offers a great overview of the different hosting types available and can help you make a decision.

Here are some of the different types of web hosting plans we offer:

  • Website hosting: This includes Linux, Windows, and Web Hosting Plus plans. Features include 24/7 network security, daily backups, cPanel access, global data centers, and more.
  • WordPress hosting: Own a WordPress website? These hosting plans are for regular and eCommerce websites built with WordPress. Features and benefits include one-click hosting migration, daily backups, and free email for the first year to name a few.
  • Servers: These plans include virtual private server (VPS hosting) and dedicated servers for greater performance and control. These plans are popular for the most demanding business and development needs.

Once you’ve decided on a hosting plan, take a moment to set up your hosting account. This process is pretty straightforward and only takes a few minutes to complete. You can find instructions on how to set up your hosting account here.

Step 2. Save & export your website's backup files: 

The next step is to back up your website's files. If you have access to your hosting account's cPanel, we recommend using the File Manager tool to download a copy of your website files to your computer.

Creating a website backup can vary depending on your current web hosting provider. But typically the process looks like this: navigate to File Manager > Website Backups > Create Backup. Once the backup has been created, you can download it to your computer. If you have created multiple backups over time, be sure to download the most recent version.

If you don't have access to cPanel or would prefer not to use the File Manager tool, you can also use an FTP client like FileZilla to connect to your hosting account and download the files that way.

How to use FileZilla?

  1. Navigate to the FileZilla website and download the free FileZilla Client.
  2. Connect to your web host's FTP server. To do this, you will need to open FileZilla and enter your hosting account's FTP credentials in the fields provided:Host: or the IP address of your server
    Username: Your hosting account username
    Password: Your hosting account password
  1. Once you've entered your hosting account's FTP credentials, click the Quickconnect button.
  2. After a few moments, you should see a listing of all of your website files in the Remote site section on the right-hand side of the screen:
  3. To download these files to your computer, select the files and folders you wish to download and click the download button.
  4. A new window will pop up asking you to choose a location on your computer to save the selected files. Choose a location and click the OK button.
  5. The selected files will now begin downloading to your computer and will appear in the Local site section on the left-hand side of the screen.

Click here for more help using FTP with FileZilla.

Step 3. Export your database: 

Not all websites have a database. For instance, if your website is just a static page, you may not have one. If this is the case, you can skip this and the next couple of steps. Be sure to ask your current web host if you're unsure.

If your website does have a database, you'll need to export a copy in order to move your website to a new web host. This includes websites using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Joomla!, or Drupal. This can usually be done through your hosting account's cPanel as well.

MySQL is the most common type of database. To export your MySQL databases, you can use phpMyAdmin from within your host's cPanel dashboard. If you don't have cPanel or if you have a different type of database, ask your host for instructions.

Here is how to export your database:

  1. Log into cPanel and navigate to the phpMyAdmin tool.
  2. In the left-hand sidebar, select the database you wish to export.
  3. Click the Export tab at the top of the screen.
  4. Select the Quick option from the export method dropdown menu.
  5. Click the Go button.
  6. A .sql file will now begin downloading to your computer. This is your database backup. Move it to the same location as the rest of your website files for safekeeping.

Step 4. Create your new database:  

Once you have your database exported, you'll need to create a new database on your hosting account.

How to create a new database:

  1. Go to the GoDaddy products page.
  2. Under Web Hosting, click Manage.
  3. Navigate to the cPanel admin within your account dashboard.
  4. Follow the steps in the Wizard to create the new database.

Here are more detailed instructions on how to create a new database within GoDaddy.

Step 5. Import your database: 

After your new database has been created, you can import a copy of your old database into it. To do this, head back into cPanel and follow these instructions.

  1. In phpMyAdmin, select the name of the database you want to use.
  2. Select Import on the top menu.
  3. Click on Choose File.
  4. Select the file you want to import, then click Open.
  5. Click Go at the bottom of the page.

Head here for more help with importing a database.

Step 6. Modify your website's files:   

If you've made changes such as database name, username, or password, you may need to reconfigure some settings. This is to modify your website's files so that they point to the new database. Depending on which content management system (CMS) you are using, the instructions will be different. We recommend reaching out to GoDaddy support to help you in this step.

Here's how to modify your website files.

  1. Open the .sql file you exported earlier in a text editor like Notepad or TextEdit.
  2. Replace all instances of your old domain name (or IP address) with your new domain name.
  3. Save the file and close it.
  4. Now, open your website's configuration file in a text editor. For WordPress, this is the wp-config.php file. For Drupal, it's the settings.php file.
  5. Replace all instances of your old database name with the new one you created earlier. Also, replace all instances of your old domain with your new domain name.
  6. Save and close the file when you're done.

Step 7. Upload your website's files:    

You can upload your website's files to your hosting account using cPanel's File Manager tool or by connecting to your account via FTP. Here are instructions on finding your FTP username. And here are instructions on moving your website with FTP and FileZilla.

To upload your files, launch FileZilla and click Quickconnect.

  1. Open your website's root directory in the Remote site section,
  2. In the Local site section, open the location on your computer where you downloaded your website files.
  3. In the Local site section, select all of your website's files and directories and drag them into the Remote site section. This will begin the upload process.

Step 8. Test your website:   

You're almost done! By now you have uploaded your website's files and imported your database. The next step is to test your new site to make sure everything is working correctly. Be sure to check out both the front-end and back-end of your website and identify any errors as early as possible. This would help you avoid website downtime. Explore your new control panel too!

Head here for detailed instructions on previewing your website.

If everything looks good, congratulations! You have successfully transferred your website to your new hosting provider.

Step 9. Update your website's DNS (Domain Name System) settings:

The last step is to update your website's DNS settings. This will tell the internet where to find your website's new hosting account. At this juncture, you will need the nameservers of your new hosting provider.

DNS basically helps to translate domain names to IP addresses so that browsers are able to load your website. Every website has a DNS record, which maps a URL to an IP address.

If you purchased your domain name through GoDaddy, you can update your DNS settings by logging in to your GoDaddy account and clicking on the "DNS" button next to your domain name. If you need help locating your GoDaddy hosting domain’s nameservers, check out this guide.

Click here for more help with managing DNS settings within GoDaddy.

Once you have updated your DNS settings, it can take up to 48 hours for the changes to propagate across the internet.

After that, your website should be accessible from its new hosting account.

That's it! By following these simple steps, you can succeed with a smooth web hosting migration. Once everything is up and running, be sure to delete your old hosting account to avoid being charged for two hosting providers.

Editor’s note: Need a new domain? Head over to GoDaddy to secure a great new domain for your website today!

Case study: How switching web hosting service provider made the difference for The Delhi School of Communication (DSC)

Named as one of the top Communication Institutes by India Today Aspire in June 2017, The Delhi School of Communication (DSC) offers a 360-degree Communications and Public Relations program. The New Delhi school’s 600+ alumni and 23-year-old legacy are a testament of its contribution to the growth of many professionals and the communication industry at large. But what does DSC’s success have to do with web hosting companies?

The demand for communications professionals has always been on a high-growth trajectory.

Today, that demand is rapidly expanding across occupations, driven by the decentralization of traditional communications roles and the continuing adoption of data analytics, social media and mobile technologies.

The desire to cater to the increasing demand brought together a group of industry professionals and academicians in 1995. Feeling a need to better align higher education in India with industry demands, they started The Delhi School of Communication. Their vision is to grow DSC into a hub of thought, engagement and futuristic learning in the media and communication domain.

An institutional website is a must

The math is fairly simple! To increase enrollments, an educational institute needs to build brand awareness, which is well-served by having a website.

Web Hosting Companies Delhi School of Communication

“A website is a basic without which I do not think my work would be able to function,” says Ramola Kumar, Dean of DSC. “A website lets the world know about your service in an extremely cost-effective way, compared with print, broadcast or any other avenue of promotion,” she adds.

DSC revamped its old website in 2009. The new one positions it to move into the future, conveying a deep understanding of communication trends and industry needs.

With a new website came a new service provider for hosting services. GoDaddy was highly recommended — both for its reputation as the world’s largest domain registrar and its attractive pricing options.

GoDaddy helps keep us visible to the world.

Now DSC can be easily found on the Internet, providing information to anyone who wishes to learn more. Their new website has also helped to establish the institute as a thought leader in Media Communications.

“We moved our hosting to GoDaddy, as the previous service provider could not process our workload effectively. Now with GoDaddy we are at ease that our website is secure and running always,” says Ramola.

GoDaddy: a trusted digital partner with 24/7 support

The process of hosting with GoDaddy was seamless for DSC. By visiting, they could purchase and set up a web hosting package at lightning speed and be visible to the world in a click.

GoDaddy’s 99.9 percent uptime guarantee and award-winning 24/7 tech support ensures that DSC’s website never rests.

Web Hosting Companies Delhi School of Communication

The WordPress Website builder tool helped DSC build their website quickly and professionally along with security from any outside threats.

The team that maintains the website at DSC has interacted with GoDaddy’s customer service team several times. Their experience has been “excellent” regardless of the challenge being faced, be it a hosting issue or a simple one of renewal.

Superior among web hosting companies

Ramola is full of praise for GoDaddy for having managed the school's website for nearly 10 years now. “They consistently perform well,” she says. This long-term outlook has been key to DSC’s consistent growth and success.

Great business are not built in a day, but they are built to last, is her personal and winning philosophy. This philosophy helps to determine the web hosting companies The Delhi School of Communication allies with.

Getting started: Why GoDaddy and how GoDaddy can help

A Creative Businesswoman Uses A Laptop

Why trust GoDaddy’s web hosting? 

GoDaddy is the world’s largest domain registrar and hosting provider with over 21 million customers worldwide. It's easy to see why once you understand some of what’s on offer:

  • Expert hosting customer support: GoDaddy is known for its award-winning 24/7 customer support.
  • Superior performance and load times: Fast-loading websites are a priority and come standard with all of our web hosting plans.
  • Reliable web hosting with 99.9% uptime guaranteed: With GoDaddy, there's no need to worry about reliability. We offer one of the highest uptime ratings in the industry backed by our service guarantee.

GoDaddy offers a wide range of hosting plans that are ideal for both beginners and seasoned webmasters. In addition to hosting, we offer services such as domains, online marketing, and enhanced security products. With GoDaddy, it's easy for our customers to get everything they need to build and grow their online presence all in one place.

Related: Top 5 reasons why free web hosting is a mistake for your business website

Hands off automated migration & hosting migration services with GoDaddy

With GoDaddy, our customer support team is standing by around the clock to help with any hosting migration questions.

For all our customers, you can now enjoy our free automated migration when you migrate your website to GoDaddy's web hosting!

If you're a new customer to GoDaddy, your site migration is part of our onboarding flow. Simply click on "Migrating an existing website" from your homepage screen and follow the step-by-step instructions.

As for our existing GoDaddy customer, head on over to "My Hosting Dashboard" and select the option "Migrate website". Thereafter, follow the steps on-screen.

If you would rather skip the migration process completely, ask about our Managed Migration Services.

  • White Glove: With our White Glove service, we will handle everything related to moving your website's content. This includes performing internal quality assurance checks. A hosting migration expert will schedule a QA with you. They will review the migration, address security, and SSL setup, and switch the new hosting live.
  • Saves you time: Self-migrating data can take time and puts your data at risk if there are any errors. White-glove website migrations can save you hours of time and headaches by removing the need for manual work.
  • Peace of mind: Managed Services Migrations offers a quick and easy way to ensure that all content is migrated correctly.

Editor’s note: Ready to switch to industry-leading web hosting that meets your needs and budget? Find your plan with GoDaddy today!

Hands-on or hassle-free migration - it’s up to you!

There are many reasons why you might want to migrate your old hosting account to a new provider. Whatever your reason, the process to transfer your website is relatively simple. In fact, it can be completed in just a few steps without the hassle of multiple plugins.

If you have any questions or need help with anything related to hosting or migrating your website, our customer support team is always here to help. You can reach us 24/7 by phone, chat, or email.

And if you would rather not deal with the hosting migration process at all, ask about our Managed Migration Services. We will take care of everything for you so that you can focus on running your business. Thanks for choosing GoDaddy!

Reach out to GoDaddy’s Care Team and they'll help migrate your hosting for you.

Editor's Note: The case study of DSC is written by Nidhi Hola.

Products Used